We have been working with children, parents and schools over the past 4 years to observe the impact of poor vision in young children on their early developing literacy skills. Our results show that vision in children who wear their glasses improves at twice the rate of those who do not and that reduction in the level of visual acuity is associated with a reduction in early literacy scores. In Bradford we know that 4% of children have significantly reduced visual acuity on school entry, therefore if children wear their glasses daily, this has the potential to not only improve vision, but also literacy. Despite the presence of an orthoptic delivered systematic vision screening programme for children aged 4-5 years covering 97% of all reception class pupils, around 30% of children who fail vision screening do not attend a further detailed eye examination. Therefore there are a significant number of children in school not accessing appropriate treatment with a potential knock on effect on their educational attainment.

Specific Projects

Glasses in Classes

‘Glasses in Classes’ is a research study designed to investigate the impact of a school-based intervention to support the wearing of glasses in young children and measure subsequent improvement of the child’s vision and academic achievement. It has been designed after listening to parents of children who have difficulty supporting their children with glasses wear. One hundred schools are participating in the trial with fifty schools being randomly assigned to having the ‘Glasses in Classes’ intervention. This is one of the largest school based trials of a health intervention in the UK.

We will trial ‘Glasses in Classes’ in schools across Bradford in the academic year 2019-2020, commencing in September 2019. We have recruited 100 schools across Bradford Metropolitan Area; 50% of schools will be randomly allocated to receive the intervention and 50% will act as comparators (business-as-usual). There will not be any change in the optical treatment the children receive by participating in the trial.

Research outputs

Bruce A, Kelly B, Chambers B, Bradbury J, Barrett BT, Bloj M and Sheldon TA. Effect of adherence to spectacle wear on early developing literacy: A longitudinal study based in a large multi-ethnic city, Bradford, UK. BMJ Open 2018;8:e021277. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021277

Bruce A, Santorelli G, Bradbury J, Barrett BT, Wright J, Bloj M and Sheldon TA. Prevalence of, and Risk Factors for, Presenting Visual Impairment: Findings from a vision screening programme based on UK NSC guidance in a multi-ethnic population. Eye (London) 2018

Bruce A and Outhwaite L. Uptake, referral and attendance: Results from an inner city school based vision screening programme. Br Ir Orthopt J 2013; 10: 42-46

Bruce A, Sanders T and Sheldon TA. A qualitative study investigating the perceptions of parents of children who failed vision screening at the age of 4-5 years. BMJ Paediatrics Open 2018

Cassetti V, Bruce A and Sanders T. Challenges of eye health care in children and strategies to improve treatment uptake: a qualitative study from the perspective of eye care professionals in the UK. Br Ir Orthopt J 2019

Meet the team

Dr Alison Bruce

Action Project Leader and Director of Vision Research

Dr Emily Williams

Research Fellow

Jenny Cheung Crossley

Jenny Cheung Crossley

Research Orthoptist